Law on Mass Media, 10th Exercise, Digest of Additional Cases

Law on Mass Media, 10th Exercise, Digest of Additional Cases, Deadline extended to Nov. 22, 2018, Thursday, 5pm.

Choose one of the following 15 additional cases for this course and write a case digest using your own summary (do not copy-and-paste from Wikipedia or any other source or else you will be proceeded against for plagiarism), with deadline extended to Nov. 22, 2018, Thursday at 5pm.

    (Number 9 does not require a case digest but a summary of news reports on the complaint against Comelec for data privacy breach, preceded by the pertinent provisions of the Data Privacy Act)
      First-post-first-marked-basis: A student may not choose a case that has already been chosen and posted on by another student here, otherwise the score is zero.

                    ADDITIONAL CASES (choose one)
     1.Belo-Henares vs. Guevarra, administrative case for defamatory posts, AC (admininistrative case) No. 11394, Dec. 1, 2016 at:

      2.Adonis vs. Davao Prisons Director Tesoro, petition for the writ of habeas corpus of Adonis serving time after being found guilty of libel, G.R. No. 182855, June 5, 2013 at:

      3. Brillante vs. Court of Appeals, [G.R. Nos. 118757 & 121571. October 19, 2004
      4.Borjal vs. Court of Appeals, 34 SCRA 301.
     5. New York Times vs. Sullivan, 376 US 254
     6.Hustler Magazine and Larry Flynt vs. Falwell, 485 US 46 (1988)
     7.Lagunsad vs. Soto vda. de Gonzales, 92 SCRA 476 (1979).
     8.Ayer Productions vs. Capulong & Enrile 160 SCRA 861 (1979)
     9.Data Privacy Act: Quote Section 3 (g), (k), (l), and Section 20 (a), (b), (c) and relate to the complaint against Comelec in 2016  based on news reports
      10.People vs. Perez, 45 Phil. 599 [1923]. (ABANDONED DOCTRINE: Dangerous Tendency Rule. Speech may be curtailed or punished when it creates a dangerous tendency which the state has the right to prevent. )
      11. Schenck vs. United States, 249 U.S. 47 [1919], Holmes, J.(The Clear and Present Danger Test. The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree)
      12. Espuelas vs. People, 90 Phil. 524 (1951)
      13.David, et al vs. Arroyo, et al (Randy David et al vs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, et al) (the Proclamation 1017 Case)
      14.Dissenting Opinion, then Justice (then Chief Justice) Reynato Puno Jr., In Re. Emil Jurado, AM No. 93-2-037, April 6, 1995
      15. Dissenting Opinion, Justice Antonio Carpio, In Re. Amado “Jake” Macasaet, AM No. A.M. No. 07-09-13-SC, August 8, 2008

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8 thoughts on “Law on Mass Media, 10th Exercise, Digest of Additional Cases

  1. [10TH POST]

    CASE #1:


    Dr. Maria Victoria G. Belo-Henares filed a complaint against Atty. Roberto “Argee” C. Gueverra, who accused her of botching a surgical procedure on one of his clients, Ms. Josefina “Josie” Norcio.
    Atty. Guevarra in 2009 posted statements on Facebook insulting the doctor, calling her a “quack doctor” and “reyna ng kaplastikan, reyna ng kapalpakan”.
    Dr. Belo further stated that he intended to even ruin the Belo Medical Group by stating “we will paralyze the operations of all her clinic and seek out her patients and customers to boycott her” or “she is not a certified plastic surgeon: Boycott Belo, Flawless Reckless, Belat Essentials!!!!”, and the like.
    Atty. Gueverra also posted threats of imprisonment to Dr. Belo despite having no factual basis and proof. Some posts were also sexist in nature, according to the complainant.
    Dr. Belo finally stated that these attacks were meant to get money out of her as can be seen in Atty. Guevarra’s post: “sisingilin ko muna si belo..”.
    Atty. Gueverra invokes his right to privacy over what he posted on Facebook. He also stated that it is within his rights of free speech and expression.

    ISSUE: The issue is whether Atty. Gueverra, the respondent, should be held responsible for the allegations against him as stated by the complainant, Dr. Belo.


    DECISION: Atty. Guevarra is found guilty of his doings as a violation to certain rules in the Code of Professional Responsibility. Such are Rules 7.03 (engagement in activity which breaches practice in law), 8.01 (use of abusive and offensive language), and 19.01 (fair and honest means of attaining objectives). His license is suspended for a year and if he does it again, he will face more severe consequences.

    1. Atty. Gueverra’s defense stems from his invocation to his right of privacy in Facebook. However, Facebook is a public platform where users voluntarily share information.
    2. Despite the respondent saying his posts were limited to his “Friends”, it still doesn’t guarantee protection as his friends could still share it or show it to other people who aren’t necessarily his friends. Thus, his defense of right to privacy is disregarded.
    3. As for the argument of freedom of expression, it is also not absolute. It has to be done in good faith and without insulting or bringing others down. This can be clearly seen in his posts as he calls Dr. Belo, who is also a public figure, names, accuses her without actual proof, and attacks her with foul language.
    4. As a lawyer, he should also practice the right decorum at all times – both in his private and public life.

  2. 10TH POST

    CASE #2
    Adonis vs. Davao Prisons Director Tesoro, petition for the writ of habeas corpus of Adonis serving time after being found guilty of libel, G.R. No. 182855, June 5, 2013

    I. FACTS:

    a. Alexancer “Lex” Adonis was convicted by Branch 17, RTC of Davao City for the case of Libel. Adonis was sentenced to an intermediate sentence of (5) five months, and one (1) day of arresto mayor maximum, as minimum penalty, to four (4) years, six (6) months and one (1) day of prision correccional medium, as maximum penalty. This libel case was filed by Representative Prospero Nograles. He started serving his sentence on February 20, 2007 while detained at the Davao Prisons and Penal Farm.

    b. Another libel case was filed against Adonis by Jeanette L. Leuterio. (RTC of Davao, Branch 14)

    c. Adonis’ discharge on parole was released by the Board of Pardons and Parole on December 11, 2007. City Parole and Probation Office of Davao received the document on May 2, 2008.

    d. This court issued the Administrative Circular No. 08-2008 or the Guidelines in the Observance of a Rule of Preference in the Imposition of Penalties in Libel Cases on January 25, 2008.

    e. Adonis filed a Motion to Reopen Case (with leave of court) under the RTC Branch 17, for his immediate release, alteration of his sentence to payment in line with the newly released Circular.

    f. Adonis moved for his provisional release from Criminal Case no. 48719-2001 (RTC Branch 14) and was granted by the honourable court. He was also allowed to post bail (P5,000) on May 26, 2008.

    g. While filing his cash bond and undertaking, the court also issued a release order, directing the Chief of Davao Penal Colony. The order was served to him on the same date but Adonis was not released.

    h. Adonis filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus on May 30, 2008 alleging that his freedom was stalled without any reason.

    i. Respondent filed his Comment, and then Adonis filed on October 27, 2008 an Urgent Motion to Resolve, November 7, 2008 a Manifestation and Motion restating all the prayers.

    j. The court then after, received a letter from the respondent which stated that Adonis had been released after accommodating all the conditions in his parole and was ordered to appear at his parole and probation officer. (February 11, 2009)

    II. ISSUE: The issue in this case is the restraining of the release of Alexander “Lex” Adonis by Davao Prisons Director Tesoro despite order from the court of his Provisional Release. The then, filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus.

    III. HELD: The petition is without merit.

    IV. DECISION: The petition is dismissed.


    a. The Writ of Habeas Corpus is a speedy remedy for those who are illegally confined or imprisoned with insufficient legal basis but not applicable to those who are imprisoned with sufficient basis and he/she is facing a judicial process.

    b. According to Section 4, Rule 102 of the Revised Penal Code The writ is not allowed if there is an informality of defect in the process and it cannot be applied to those who are confined due to a conviction.

    c. Adonis was convicted for libel by the RTC Branch 17, in Criminal Case No. 48679-2001. Although he was able to serve his minimum sentence, his other case is a good enough basis for his disqualification of Parole. He was granted parole for the forst case, but his second case was still pending.

    d. All the benefits from the newly released Administrative Circular cannot be applied to Criminal Case no. 48719-2001because he was already serving his sentence for this case.

    e. He was finally released on December 23, 2008 after accepting his parole conditions.

  3. 10TH POST

    Case #12
    Espuelas vs. People, 90 Phil. 524 (1951)

    – Between June 9 and June 24, 1947, in Tagbilaran, Bohol, Oscar Espuelas y Mendoza had his picture taken looking like he committed suicide with a piece of rope hanging from a tree, when in fact he was standing on a barrel.
    – Espuelas sent copies of the photograph, along with a suicide letter made to appear written by Alberto Reveniera, a fictitious character made by the former, addressed to his supposed wife, to several newspapers and weeklies of general circulation throughout the Philippines and abroad.
    – The letter indicated that he committed suicide because he was not pleased, ashamed of the government under Roxas because of the situation in Central Luzon, the Hukbalahaps, Julio Guillen, and the banditry of Leyte. He also instructed in the letter that his wife write a letter to President Truman and Churchill to tell them that the Philippine government is infected with many Hitlers and Mussolinis. In addition, he asked his wife to teach their children to burn pictures of Roxas when they come across one.
    – Espuelas admitted that he wrote the letter, and caused its publication in the Free Press, the Evening News, the Bisaya, Lamdag, and other local periodicals. He also admitted posing himself as Alberto Reveniera.

    Whether or not the letter Espuelas wrote is a scurrilous libel against the government.

    December 17, 1951

    Oscar Espuelas y Mendoza was convicted in the court of first instance of Bohol of a violation of the Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes those who shall write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels against the Government of the Philippines. The conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

    – The letter calls our government infested with Nazis and fascists, and reveals a seditious tendency to influence people not to remain loyal to the government and obedient to the laws.
    – Writings which tend to undermine the security of the government or to weaken the confidence of the people in the government are against the public peace, and are criminal because they are conducive to the destruction of the very government itself.
    – Espuelas said in the letter that he had “no power to put under juez de cuchillo all the Roxas people in power”, which, in layman’s term, means the Law of the Knife or “summary and arbitrary execution by the knife”, which indicates his idea of murderous methods to remove the Roxas administration in power.

  4. Case #3

    Brillante vs. Court of Appeals, [G.R. Nos. 118757 & 121571. October 19, 2004

    1. Brillante moves to accuse Former mayor Jejomar binay for being included in the plotted assassination of Augusto Syjuco.

    The assassination was plotted by Dr. Nemesio Prudente
    Brillante is accompanied by 50 other journalists on this matter.
    Tagged Personnel for he cases are:

    a. Emilio Anecito as the hitman

    b. Rafael Nieva as Dr. Prudente’s bodyguard

    Binay and Prudente fired cases of libel against brillante and other journalists
    An open letter was released to the public by these journalists
    Brillante found guilty but moved for an appeal for the filling of the case has exceeded one year
    Court of appeals did not find libel in the open letter as the letter only informed of Binay’s actions
    Brillante filed for Motion to Reconsideration but was denied

    Held : 1983 – October 19, 2004

    Decision: Brillante charged of 4 charges of libel against binay and prudente, however not guilty of the crime and owes 1M to both Binay and Prudente

    Issue: The information of Brillante was already prescribed when they were filed

    Reason for decision: Revised Penal Code states that Libel must be prescribed within a year, as for Brillante’s case when he was filled for libel by binay and prudente it was already charged as such. This could not apply for Brillante’s motion for Reconsideration due to the expiry of the information.

  5. Lagunsad vs. Soto vda. de Gonzales, 92 SCRA 476 (1979)

    The issue started with a Licensing Agreement between Manuel M. Lagunzad and Maria Soto Vda. de Gonzales on October 5, 1961 for the screening of a film that is based on the life of Moises Padilla, a mayoralty candidate from Negros Occidental, who was killed and was depicted as a “martyr” in the book which the film was based on. Lagunzad bought the rights to this book titled “the Moises Padilla Story” early on. However, the film also shows scenes where the relatives of Padilla is involved including his mother Maria Soto Vda. de Gonzales. Upon seeing early rushes of the film, Moises’ half sister called Lagunzad who was in charge of production and objected to some portions of the movies. Mrs. Amante, in behalf of her mother, Maria Soto Vda. de Gonzales wrote a demand for certain changes, corrections and deletions in the movie. On the same day the letter was sent, the two parties entered into a Licensing Agreement after some deliberations and negotiations. Lagunzad first paid Php 5,000 of the Php 20,000 agreed sum to the other party, which he argues is not an act submitting to the agreement but as “placation. He further claims that the contract should be considered null and void because he agreed to the contract only because of coercion and undue influence.

    Whether or not the film’s depiction of Moises Padilla, in spite of him being a public figure, is an intrusion upon his right to privacy
    Whether or not Padilla’s mother has property right over her son’s life

    – Even if Moises Padilla was a public figure, it does not destroy his right to privacy.

    Reason for the decision:
    – As presented in the case: “The right to invade a person’s privacy to disseminate public information does not extend to a fictional or novelized representation of a person, no matter how public a figure he or she may be.” The decision also notes that even though Lagunzad claims that he did the film as close to reality as possible, he still added some things to make the film more exciting.

    – Although the petitioner bought the rights to the book, he still needed to secure prior consent from the living heirs o relatives of the deceased and in this case, Padilla’s mother and sister.

    Reason for the decision:
    Citing Schuyler v. Curtis, : “a privilege may be given the surviving relatives of a deceased person to protect his memory, but the privilege exists for the benefit of the living, to protect their feelings and to prevent a violation of their own rights in the character and memory of the deceased.”

  6. [10TH POST]

    CASE #8. Ayer Productions vs. Capulong & Enrile 160 SCRA 861 (1979)

    Facts of the case:
    – An Australian film maker named Hal McElroy, the petitioner, proposed a motion picture entitled “The Four Day Revolution” that depicts the struggle of the Filipinos at EDSA in 1986.
    – General Fidel Ramos approved the film production and was endorsed by the Movie Television Review and Classification Board, along with other government agencies they consulted.
    – On December 16, 1987, petitioner Hal McElroy sent a letter to private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile explaining in detail the content of the motion picture.
    – On December 21, 1987, Enrile replied that he will not approve the use, appropriation, or exhibition of his name and of any member of his family in any cinema or television production.
    – The petitioners then removed the name of Enrile in the script and proceeded to shoot the motion picture.
    – On February 23, 1988, Enrile filed a complaint at the RTC of Makati invoking his right to privacy.
    – On March 9, 1988, the petitioners filed a motion to dismiss the complaint as it is clearly a violation of their right to free expression.

    Whether or not the freedom of expression has been violated

    The court stressed that freedom of expression includes the freedom to film and produce motion pictures. The right to privacy of Enrile was set aside as he is a public figure because of his huge participation in the change of government at that time. It was deemed that his right to privacy was narrower than of the ordinary citizen’s.

  7. 10TH POST

    Case # 4: Borjal VS CA


    Borjal and Soliven were taken to court for libellous statements in published articles they wrote against Wenceslao. These statements were allegedly derogatory and offensive against Wenceslao. In the articles, Borjal and Soliven attacked the solicitations letters Wenceslao sent to the business community to support a conference on the transportation crisis which was allegedly mixed in with unusual activities. However, Wenceslao was never named in any of the articles nor was the conference he was organising. The lower court ordered petitioners to reimburse private respondent Wenceslao for damages. Then, a petition for review was filed before the Supreme Court arguing that Wenceslao was not overtly identified in the articles.


    Whether or not there is sufficient evidence that Borjal and Soliven are guilty of libel


    In a libel suit, the victim must be identifiable even if he is not named. In the case, Wenceslao identified himself as the person being defamed, which does not constitute sufficient evidence as it must be proven that a third person could identify Wenceslao as the subject of the articles. These requisites were not complied with as Wenceslao was not immediately identifiable and the public would not have known he was the organizer of the conference had he not spoken out.

    The article in question arguably dealt with matters of public interest, as seen in the objective of the “transportation crisis” conference. Fair comment means that every man is presumed innocent until proven guilty and thus derogatory remarks made in public are deemed false; but when these remarks are directed against a public person in his public capacity, it is not necessarily actionable.

  8. New York Times vs. Sullivan, 376 US 254
    1. In the 1960, the New York Times published an advertisement that called out the police forces of Montgomery, Alabama for “an unprecedented wave of terror” against protesters.
    2. Sullivan was among the three people who headed the police forces in Montgomery.
    3. Even though the advertisement did not drop any names, Sullivan took offense and defended that the advertisement implied that he was accountable for the police forces. Sullivan filed libel against New York Times for printing false statements with the intent to harm.
    4. Sullivan won at the Alabama court. The New York Times was mandated to pay $500,000 in damages.
    5. The New York Times appealed to the Supreme Court. They contended that they had no malice against Sullivan. They did not check if the advertisement had false information because they did not have reason to suspect that the advertisement contained false statements.
    The issue is whether the New York Times should be held liable for libel against Sullivan.
    The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the New York Times, 9-0.
    1. In order for the New York Times to be held liable for libel, it should be first be proven that there was actual malice when they published false statements.
    2. The First Amendment safeguards the publication of all statements about public interest, even if they are false ones, provided they are published without the knowledge that they are false. An open discussion about matters of public interest, such as the conduct of officials, is vital to democracy. It is more important than hurting the reputation of public figures by publishing honest mistakes every now and then.

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